Francis Towne (1739 - 1816)
  • The Temple of Romulus
  • Temple of Romulus and Remus
Pencil, pen and black and grey inks, watercolour with gum
  • image width 352mm,
  • image length 321mm
laid paper watermarked "J WHATMAN", with a horizontal crease c.130mm below the top edge of the paper
mounted by the artist
  • sheet, recto, lower left
  • “No.48 / F.Towne / delt. 1781. Rome”
  • in brown ink
  • artist's mount, verso
  • “No48, Rome / Evening Sun from the right hand / Templum Romolo e Remo / drawn by / Francis Towne / [“July 19th. 1781” scratched out]”
  • in brown ink
Object Type

Catalogue Number
Description Sources
Author's examination of the object


Bequeathed by the artist in 1816 to James White of Exeter (1744–1825), who gave it in 1816 to the present owner, the British Museum, London (Nn.1.21).

Associated People & Organisations

British Museum
James White (1744 - 1825)
Exhibition History
[?] Exhibition of Original Drawings at the Gallery, No.20 Lower Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, 20 Lower Brook Street, 1805, no. 160 as 'Temple of Romulus and Remus'
Light, time, legacy: Francis Towne’s watercolours of Rome, British Museum, 2016
Laurence Binyon, Catalogue of Drawings by British Artists and Artists of Foreign Origin Working in Great Britain Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Trustees of the British Museum: London, 1907, p. 202
Adrian Bury, Francis Towne - Lone Star of Water-Colour Painting, Charles Skilton: London, 1962, p. 126


The so-called Temple of Romulus is beside the Palatine Hill, whose northern edge is visible in the left of Towne’s picture. As with FT212, Towne has introduced a shepherd and his flock. The layered foreground was probably finished much later than the sketch, perhaps to render it suitable for exhibition in 1805.

Towne had in mind Richard Wilson’s view of this monument, a version of which Towne appears to have drawn for his pupils to copy (see FT863).1

by Richard Stephens


  1. 1 James Gandon after Richard Wilson, Temple of Romulus, ca. 1776.

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